More than 16,000 voters cast ballots in Newton’s municipal elections on Tuesday night, according to the unofficial results. Incumbents dominated city council races marked by discussions about zoning and contract negotiations between the Newton School Committee and Newton Teachers Association. Not a single school committee member ran in an opposed election.
Candidates supported by Save Newton Villages—a group calling for the city to pause rezoning efforts—including Rena Getz, Alan Lobovits, David Micley, Randall Block, and Stephen Farrell, largely won their races for a seat in Newton City Council. Getz and Lobovits beat incumbents Alicia Bowman and Deborah Crossley, chair of the council’s Zoning and Planning Committee, for at-large seats. Farrell beat incumbent Holly Ryan to become Ward 8 councilor. The Heights compiled election results and headed to the polls on Tuesday to talk to voters.
At the Polls
At the polls, Newton resident Jack Lovett said he voted in the election to preserve the future of the city as issues of housing and economic development continue to affect Newton.
“I think every election is important, but in Newton, there’s been a lot of major issues in the city going back 10 years regarding housing and economic development,” Lovett said. “The future of the city and of the city council is at stake today, and that’s why I voted.”
Resident Risa Shames said housing issues were why she voted. She said Newton should work on developing more housing options across the city to keep it accessible to people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
“I think that local issues are really important—a lot of these issues are around housing and development,” Shames said. “I feel strongly that Newton should have more development so that more young families can move in, so schools can be full, so that people like me, who may want to downsize, have places to go, and so we keep this town vibrant and open.”
Resident Sean Roche said key issues surrounding the climate and social and economic justice are a part of the current housing debates in Newton.
“The climate, economic justice, social justice … all of those come together in housing,” Roche said. “And so the land use policies, the zoning, is very important. And [in] this election, the candidates are very clearly on different sides of the land use and zoning issues.”
According to former City Councilor Greg Schwartz, it is important that voters consider who they want to represent their interests.
“It’s really important to kind of choose somebody who you feel is going to do a good job,” Schwartz said.
Shames said there is misinformation and a lack of education surrounding the election, leading voters to pick candidates without fully understanding their stance.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation, so I’m a little nervous that people may not really understand all the issues or might just vote for whoever they got the most flyers and phone calls from,” Shames said.
Roche said voting in municipal elections is important, as their impacts reach individuals at a much more local level than federal or state elections.
“Municipal politics, municipal government, is not as interesting or as exciting to some as state and federal, but the impacts are much more local,” Roche said.
Incumbent Maria Scibelli Greenberg was unopposed and re-elected as ward councilor.
Incumbents Alison Leary and John Oliver were re-elected as at-large councilors after running unopposed.
Incumbent Rajeev Parlikar ran unopposed, retaining his school committee seat.
With 60 percent of votes, David Micley was elected ward councilor over candidate Dan Gaynor by a margin of 673 votes. Just fewer than 1,110 residents voted for Gaynor and 1,782 for Micley.
Tarik Lucas and Newton City Council President Susan Albright, both incumbents, won re-election as at-large councilors after running unopposed.
Incumbent Chris Brezski ran unopposed and won the school committee election.
Incumbent Julia Malakie ran unopposed and was re-elected as ward councilor.
Incumbents Andrea Kelley and Pamela Wright each won re-election as at-large councilors after running unopposed.
Incumbent Anping Shen ran unopposed and kept his seat on the school committee.
With 57 percent of the vote, Randall Block became ward councilor over challenger Doris Ann Sweet by a margin of 382 votes. Eight hundred forty-seven voters supported Sweet and 1,229 supported Block.
Incumbents Leonard Gentile and Joshua Krintzman each won re-election as at-large councilors after running unopposed.
Incumbent Tamika Olszewski ran unopposed and won the school committee election.
Incumbent Bill Humphrey won the Ward 5 councilor election after running unopposed.
Incumbent Andreae Downs and candidate Rena Getz each won a councilor-at-large seat for Ward 5, with Downs receiving 7,728 votes and Getz receiving 7,776 votes. Residents denied incumbent Deborah Crossley—who received 7,060 votes—re-election to the council.
Incumbent Emily Prenner ran unopposed and was re-elected to the school committee.
With 49 percent of the vote, Martha Bixby won the ward councilor election. Bixby received 1,305 votes to defeat challenger Lisa Gordon, who received 1,281 votes, by 24 votes.
Incumbent Victoria Danberg and Alan Lobovits were elected as councilors at-large for Ward 6, receiving 7,680 and 7,780 votes, respectively. Residents voted out incumbent Alicia Bowman, who received 7,513 votes.
Incumbent Paul Levy ran unopposed and was re-elected to the school committee.
Incumbent Lisle Baker ran unopposed and was re-elected as ward councilor.
Incumbents Becky Grossman and Marc Laredo each won re-election as at-large councilors after running unopposed.
Incumbent Amy Davenport ran unopposed and won the school committee election.
With 59 percent of the vote, Stephen Farrell defeated incumbent Holly Ryan in the Ward 8 councilor election. Farrell received 1,096 votes to win by a margin of 448 votes over Ryan, who received 648 votes.
Incumbents David Kalis and Richard Lipof, city council vice president, each won re-election as at-large councilors after running unopposed.
Incumbent Barry Greenstein ran unopposed and won the school committee election.